Monday, April 11, 2011

The phantom leap

Eight days short of six years ago, when there was time for internal dialogue, I wrote this. Many things have changed since, but the conflicts present in the last paragraph have remained. There have been growing responsibilities, and a greater awareness of the consequences of each choice. And yet the conflicts don't go away. Even after six years of learning, of working toward something, of hopefully becoming a slightly better writer. That phantom leap still lingers, waiting for me to decide. Each choice is brave and yet cowardly; the secure path leads to a warm life, and the one I haven't taken could be miserable.

But I live and breathe my stories in a way I can't explain. Not to you, or my bosses, or my family, or even myself. The last story I explored and wrote with passion - even if it doesn't come across - was the longest I had ever written and, I asked myself after a month: "Still not one comment?" The story took three weeks to research, and a week to write. Then came another story, about the Oscar Library, which I wrote because I had to fill a weekly deadline. I wrote it in an hour. I spent the next two days in a terrible funk, because it was terrible. And I'm still surprised how many people liked it.

So at what point does one take that leap? I'm still grappling with it. When I wrote 25, 35, 45, I genuinely didn't know how life would turn out. At 31, the answer is no clearer, but the choices, and their consequences, certainly are.

I guess knowing how you're going to be screwed is a kind of progress.

No comments: